'Unbelievable': Stokes hails breathtaking triumph

back icon
safari
26 Aug 2019 | 02:17 AM
author
AFP

'Unbelievable': Stokes hails breathtaking triumph

"It’s one of the two best feelings I’ve ever felt on a cricket pitch," said Stokes

heart

Share

Ben Stokes said his remarkable century was “unbelievable” as England secured an astounding one-wicket win over Australia in the third Test at Headingley on Sunday to square the Ashes series at 1-1. 

England, dismissed for just 67 in their first innings -- their lowest Ashes total in 71 years -- were seemingly dead and buried at 286-9, still 73 shy of a victory target of 359.

But 28-year-old left-handed batsman Stokes, whose five-and-a-half hour innings was a brilliantly paced mix of defence and aggression, saw England home with a superb 135 not out. 

“Unbelievable,” Stokes told Sky Sports. “It’s one I’ll never forget. 

“I’ve got to try and take it all in,” added Stokes, whose batting heroics helped Englnd win the World Cup for the first time in July. 

“I’m not sure it’ll ever happen again. It’s one of the two best feelings I’ve ever felt on a cricket pitch.” 

Stokes, involved in a run out of Jos Buttler which looked to have scuppered England’s chances, added: “Just never give up. It’s not over until it’s over. When Leachy came in it was pretty clear what had to be done. It was five and one. I’ll take five (deliveries), you take one.” 

Bespectacled Leach, who hit a career best 92 as nightwatchman in England’s recent Test win over Ireland, played his part as Stokes acknowledged. 

“He’s a super nightwatchman, knowing what he had to do. I couldn’t watch in the end. I was just waiting to see what happened.” 

Stokes, two not out off 50 balls at Friday’s close, faced 219 deliveries in total, hitting 11 fours and eight sixes. 

“I think when it got down to the 30s I was thinking, ‘rein it in a little’, but when it was in the 60s, 70s, 50s I had to really try and I sort of got in the zone,” explained Stokes. 

“We had to win this game to stay in the Ashes and we managed to do it.” 

England captain Joe Root labelled his longtime friend’s display “outrageous”. 

“We said at the start of the day, ‘we just have to believe’ and while two people are alive and breathing, we have a chance,” said Root, who added just two runs to his overnight score before falling for 77. 

“We’ve seen some freakish things already this summer in the World Cup but I didn’t think we’d see something similar in this series. 

“It was an incredible game of cricket, an incredible atmosphere and Test cricket is alive and kicking. This Ashes is alive and kicking.” 

Asked about Stokes’s innings, he added: “To try and sum that up in words is pretty much impossible. Outrageous batting.” 

Meanwhile, Australia captain Tim Paine said: “It’s hard to take, losing from that position but you tip your hat sometimes. 

“Ben Stokes played an unbelievable innings and in the end he was too good for us. It was probably the best Test innings I’ve seen and the rest of the team thought the same thing.” 

Among those at the ground watching the match was David Gower, who played in the celebrated 1981 Ashes Test at Headingley when England beat Australia after following-on in a match where Ian Botham hit 149 not out and fast bowler Bob Willis took 8-43. 

“That was the most extraordinary performance I have seen from anyone ever, both as a player and as a broadcaster over the last 40 years,” Sky Sports commentator Gower said. 

“To dominate proceedings like that, to control proceedings, to take all the risks that could easily have failed, to come out on top, to be there at that moment, that takes unbelievable skill, unbelievable courage,” the former England batsman added.

heart
shareGray Share
Tags
Ben StokesJack LeachAshes 20193rd TestLeedsStokes calls triumph unbelievable

Related Articles

safari
NEWS
England in the presence of Stokes' 'greatness' says Root
Stokes laid the platform for a 113-run victory that saw England level the three-match series at 1-1 with 176 in a first innings of 469-9 declared
userAFP
21 Jul 2020
safari
OPINION
Ben Stokes and second chances
On Ben Stokes' birthday, here's looking back at his two most memorable performances from 2019
userNitin Fernandes
04 Jun 2020
safari
YEAR-END REVIEW
The best performances of 2019 from the purest form of the game
The moments etched in the memory from the debut year of the World Test Championship
userCricket.com Staff
31 Dec 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Ben Stokes v Nathan Lyon: How the tables have turned
England’s resurgence in the series has run parallel to Stokes turning the corner against Lyon
userShubh Aggarwal
04 Sep 2019
safari
NEWS
Former England stars hail 'awesome' victory
Harmison, part of England’s incredible win in the 2005 Ashes, said the all-rounder was special
userAFP
27 Aug 2019
safari
NEWS
Australia look to Smith for Ashes revival
Smith missed the third Test with concussion but is expected to be fit for the next game
userAFP
27 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
The new Ben Stokes: More determined than ever
Stokes innings of 135 is being mentioned in the greatest ever category
userPramod Ananth
26 Aug 2019
safari
NEWS
Paine to review DRS role after stunning defeat
Paine admitted: "I've got every review wrong so far"
userAFP
26 Aug 2019
safari
ANALYSIS
Stokes's stunning century sees England to one-wicket win in Ashes thriller
The England all-rounder scored an unbeaten 135 to guide his team to a 1-wicket win
userAFP
25 Aug 2019
safari
NEWS
Stokes sets sights on Ashes glory after World Cup triumph
The Ashes begin at Edgbaston on August 1.
userAFP
16 Jul 2019
logo
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
FacebookTwitterLinkedin
@ 2020 cricket.com | All rights reserved